About the Conference


In today’s world, the movement of children across international borders – with or without their families – has become an issue of critical importance for governments, humanitarian organisations, policy makers and researchers and concerned citizens in many countries.

International Social Service (ISS) Australia and the University of Melbourne’s School of Social Work present “Children and Families Across Borders: Challenges and Opportunities for Action”, a two day international conference on the movement of children and families across borders.

The Conference will seek to bring together a cross-disciplinary group of participants to consider seven specific topics related to the Conference’s broader theme. Presenters include those from academia and service organisations, international and local guests, and professionals from legal, social work and many other backgrounds.

Places are strictly limited so please register now to secure your involvement in this special event.


Monday 4 April

8.30 / Registration

9.00 / Conference opening

Mr Fionn Skiotis – ISS Australia (brief welcome)
Prof Marie Connolly – University of Melbourne (official welcome)

9.30 / Intercountry Adoption
(Moderator: Dr Felicity Northcott – ISS USA)

Dr Patricia Fronek – Griffith University
(download presentation)
Ms Lynelle Long – Intercountry Adoptee Voices
(download presentation)
Mr Damon Martin – ISS Australia
Ms Mia Dambach – ISS General Secretariat
(download presentation)

10.55 / Morning Tea

11.15am / International family mediation
(moderator: Prof Ann Estin – University of Iowa / ISS USA)

Ms Helen Freris – ISS Australia
(download presentation)
Mr Stephan Auerbach – ISS Switzerland
(download presentation)
Prof Jennifer McIntosh
(download presentation part 1)
(download presentation part 2)

12.40 / Lunch

1.45 / International parental child abduction
(Moderator: TBC)

The Hon Justice Bennett – Family Court of Australia
(download presentation)
Ms Rosa Saladino – ISS Australia
(download presentation part 1)
(download presentation part 2)
Ms Ursula Rӧlke – ISS Germany
(download presentation)

3.10 / Afternoon Tea

3.30 / Surrogacy & donor conception
(moderator: Mr Damon Martin – ISS Australia)

Ms Mia Dambach – ISS General Secretariat
(download presentation)
Mr Hans van Hooff – ISS Netherlands
Ms Kate Bourne – VARTA
(download presentation)
Ms Chloe Allworthy – Donor conceived adult
(download presentation | Video link)

Monday 4 April

7.00pm / Conference Dinner

MC: The Hon Alastair Nicholson AO RFD QC – ISS Australia Patron
Guest Speaker: Ms Jacqueline Pascarl

Tuesday 5 April

09:00 / ISS Australia Book Launch
(Moderator: Mr Fionn Skiotis – ISS Australia)
(Download Presentation)

The Hon Alastair Nicholson AO RFD QC – ISS Australia Patron
Prof Marie Connolly – University of Melbourne
Dr Klaus Serr – ISS Australia
Dr David Rose – University of Melbourne

9:30 / Intercountry kinship care & child protection
(Moderator: Ms Laura Parker – CFAB)

Mr Damon Martin – ISS Australia
(Download Presentation)
Prof Marie Connolly – University of Melbourne
(Download Presentation)
Prof Judith Masson – University of Bristol (UK)
(Download Presentation)

10:55 – Morning Tea

11:15 – 12.40 / Unaccompanied humanitarian minors and children coming to Australia under Orphan Relative Visas
(Moderator: Mr Stephen Yau – ISS Hong Kong)

Dr Georgie Paxton – Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne
Dr Herbert Wiedermann – ISS Germany
(Download Presentation)
Mr Olivier Geissler – ISS Switzerland
(Download Presentation part 1)
(Download Presentation part 2)
(Download Presentation part 3)
Dr Klaus Serr – ISS Australia / David Rose – University of Melbourne
(Download Presentation)

1:45 / Child trafficking and forced marriage
(Moderator: Professor Baitzar Gazerian – ISS Greece)

Dr Kathy Landvogt – Good Shepherd Vic
(Download Presentation)
Mr Matthew Keeley – National Children’s and Youth Law Centre
(Download Presentation)
Dr Djibril Fall / Ms Abena Yamoah – ISS West Africa Network
Prof Jennifer Burn – UTS / Anti-slavery Australia
(Download Presentation part 1)
(Download Presentation part 2)

3:30 / Closing / Plenary session
Comments from Young Person’s Observer Group
Summing up and closing speech (speaker Prof Marie Connolly – University of Melbourne)

The Presenters

Young Persons’ Observer Team

The Conference organising team will be attempting something new for this event: we will invite a group of young people who have experienced movement across international borders to attend and observe the Conference’s proceedings (free of charge).

They will be able to engage with speakers and other participants over the two days, as they wish, and will be invited to provide their comments – as a group or individually – on what they have seen and heard, during the Conference’s closing session.

The Young Person’s Observer Team will be provided with support by ISS Australia staff before, during and after their time at the Conference.

Conference Venue

The Conference and the Conference dinner (evening of Mon 4 April) will be held at the University’s state-of-the-art Woodward Centre in Carlton, just north of the CBD.

Free wifi is available, lunch and morning/afternoon tea is provided, but unfortunately, there is no parking available

Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 7.08.42 pm

Woodward Conference Centre

10th floor,
Melbourne Law (Building 106),
185 Pelham St, Carlton
VIC 3053

Conference Dinner

The official Conference Dinner will be held at the Woodward Centre (South Dining Room), at 7.00 pm on Monday 4 April. ISS Australia’s Patron, the Hon Alastair Nicholson AO RFD QC, former Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia, will be Master of Ceremonies for the evening.

Our special Guest Speaker is Ms Jacqueline Pascarl. An experienced CEO in the NFP sector, Jacqueline has worked in countries including Bosnia, Kosovo and East Timor. A regular columnist for the Financial Times, an accomplished filmmaker and author of many best selling books, Jacqueline is also a high-profile lobbyist on human rights, women’s rights and refugee issues and a Patron of CARE International since 2007. She is an expert on the Hague Convention and international parental child abduction and has been nominated for Australian of the Year four times, among her many awards.

All Conference participants are welcome – and encouraged – to attend the Dinner, however this requires a separate registration and fee ($100 for a three course meal including drinks).


Ms. Jaqueline Pascarl


The Hon. Alistair Nicholson

Registration & Payment

Day One

Register to attend Day 1 of ‘Children and Families Across Borders: Challenges and Opportunities for Action’

Registration Fee
$220 (+ Booking Fee)

Conference Dinner

Register to attend the Conference Dinner

Registration Fee
$100 (+ Booking Fee)

Day Two

Register to attend Day 2 of ‘Children and Families Across Borders: Challenges and Opportunities for Action’

Registration Fee
$220 (+ Booking Fee)